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Shapiro Unveils Plan on Pennsylvania’s Energy Future

Gov. Josh Shapiro

In the never-ending balancing act that is energy production versus reducing climate emissions, Gov. Josh Shapiro says he has an answer to satisfy Pennsylvania’s industries, as well as consumers.

Shapiro unveiled an energy plan on Wednesday in Scranton that aims to protect and create nearly 15,000 energy jobs, lower utility bills for Pennsylvania households, and take action to address carbon pollution.

The plan also calls for the state to get at least half of its electricity from a diverse set of energy resources by 2035, including 35% in what he describes as the clean sources of today and the future such as solar, wind and fusion. 10% from large hydropower and battery storage, and five percent from ultra-low emission forms of natural gas and other traditional fuels.

It is the governor’s hope that the initiatives, if adopted by the General Assembly, would save Pennsylvania ratepayers more than $250 million in the first five years, while generating $5.1 billion in investment in clean, reliable energy sources.

“Pennsylvania is falling behind in the race to create clean and reliable energy – and we must take action to be more competitive, ensure our consumers pay less for their electricity bills, and create more jobs and opportunities for our businesses to grow and our workers to get ahead,” said Shapiro.

“From the very beginning, I have made clear that any energy policy supported by my Administration must meet the three-part test of protecting and creating energy jobs, taking real action to address climate change pollution, and ensuring reliable, affordable power for consumers in the long term. My energy plan is built to do all three, making sure the first dollar goes to Pennsylvania ratepayers and ensuring Pennsylvania will continue to be a leader on energy for decades to come.”

Shapiro is proposing a Pennsylvania-specific cap-and-invest program, entitled the Pennsylvania Climate Emissions Reduction Act (PACER), that allows the Commonwealth to determine its own cap on carbon and invest directly in lowering consumers’ electricity bills. Should the legislature pass the proposal, PACER would Pennsylvania out of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI).

The proposal came following recommendations from the Governor’s RGGI Working Group, comprising labor leaders, environmental advocates, and industry to evaluate its merits.

The Administration’s hope is that PACER will continue to allow Pennsylvania to chart its energy future, independent of foreign oil and other states’ energy policies.

“We will not take direction from anyone outside of this Commonwealth,” said the governor. “This initiative will be established by us, run by us, and benefit us. We will set our own cap. We will set our own price for those carbon credits, and we won’t have any other state determining what is right for us here in Pennsylvania.”

The governor also introduced the Pennsylvania Reliable Energy Sustainability Standard (PRESS), designed to attract federal investments in the Commonwealth. Its aim is to promote new and innovative forms of energy  by combining the 20-year-old Alternative Energy Portfolio Standards (AEPS) with standards to ensure reliability in adding nuclear power, fusion and clean forms of natural gas.

PRESS requires Pennsylvania to get 50 percent of its electricity from a diverse range of energy resources by 2035, including 35% from the clean energy sources of today and the future like solar, wind, small modular reactors, and fusion, 10% from sustainable sources like large hydropower and battery storage, and 5% from ultra-low emission forms of natural gas and other traditional fuels.

The Administration believes that the revised standard will create 14,500 jobs in the state, while improving the reliability of the electric grid and positioning the Commonwealth as a leader in the energy arena.

“This is important because it creates a new market for clean energy, but not in a way that jeopardizes anyone’s job or puts anyone out of work,” said Shapiro. “It actually creates more jobs for pipe fitters, more jobs for steamfitters and boiler makers.”

The governor continued to explain the importance of PRESS. “It’s going to incentivize innovation. It’s going to help us move toward more clean energy and, hear me on this, it’s going to create thousands of good paying jobs right here in Pennsylvania and allow us to be a leader in this space.”

The governor’s speech was interrupted by citizens who complained that Shapiro has not followed through on a campaign pledge to clean up the contaminated water supply in Dimock, located about 30 miles north of Scranton.

“I’m grateful that folks of Dimock care so deeply about their community,” said Shapiro. “I do as well. That’s why when I was Attorney General, we brought criminal charges (against Cabot Oil and Gas) to hold those companies accountable. I appreciate the fact that they’re frustrated and they wanted to come and voice themselves here and I respect their right to do that.”

“Comprehensive energy policy remains at the forefront of our legislative focus for the Commonwealth,” said Senate Majority Leader Joe Pittman (R-Indiana) in a statement. “The best way to swiftly advance meaningful discussions around energy policy is for Gov. Shapiro to remove the anvil of RGGI and drop his appeal to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. Detrimental job losses and increased electricity costs imposed directly on consumers necessitates immediately closing the chapter of RGGI.

“It now appears the governor agrees with the Commonwealth Court’s ruling asserting a cap-and-trade program for electric generation is a tax on electricity and would require legislative approval. The governor correctly points out it is time we stop losing to Ohio, however, any cap-and-trade program applying solely to electric generation in Pennsylvania and not our competitors, does not fit the bill.”

State Sen. Rob Matzie (D-Beaver), chair of the House Consumer Protection, Technology and Utilities Committee, said in a statement that “The governor’s announcement highlights policies we have been promoting for some time, the key being an ‘all of the above’ approach when it comes to our energy mix. For me, the inclusion of emerging nuclear and fusion technology in the plan is essential and has been a key initiative I have long supported.

“These proposals will create good energy jobs, promote opportunities for technologies that will deliver power while reducing their carbon footprint, and – most importantly – maintain our status as a net exporter of energy. To put it simply, good jobs, cleaner air, keep the lights on.”

“Governor Shapiro’s energy tax will cause widespread destruction in every industry in Pennsylvania,” said David N. Taylor, President & CEO, Pennsylvania Manufacturers’ Association in a press release. “A new, additional tax on energy will jeopardize our vital industries and undermine the hardworking women and men on our shop floors while massively subsidizing boutique ‘green’ energy monopolized by China.

“(His) energy tax is completely at odds with everything else he says he wants to do on economic development. [WV Gov.] Jim Justice and [OH Gov.] Mike DeWine should send Gov. Shapiro a bouquet of roses, or maybe a fruit basket, because the Shapiro energy tax is a clear sign to investors to go to their states, not ours.”

“Businesses and investors are clear-eyed about the many economic benefits of clean energy investment in Pennsylvania, and they support public policy that will bolster that investment in the Commonwealth,” said Alli Gold Roberts, senior director of state policy of Ceres, a nonprofit organization working to solve the world’s greatest sustainability challenges. “As federal and private funding deliver a surge of investment in renewable power and other climate solutions across the U.S., this legislation will provide a strong foundation for Pennsylvania to harness the clean energy boom.”

“The bottom line is that Pennsylvania needs both a strong renewable energy standard and an effective carbon cap-and-invest program if we want to clean our air, create new jobs, hold down consumers’ utility bills, and make our electrical grid more reliable. We appreciate the governor’s commitment to both,” said The Clean Power PA Coalition in a press release.

One Response

  1. The best. way to generate electricity is either nuclear or natural gas. Allthe “green scams”can produce maybe 10% during the day. And CO2 is Plant Food and about. 1% with 21% oxygen 78% nitrogen


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